You have most likely encountered a laneway house on your travels around Metro Vancouver at some point. They are the charming little houses that sit at the edge of properties and often look like miniature homes placed in lieu of a garage. They are often easy to spot and typically as old as the homes they neighbor. Perfectly sized for a single tenant, mother-in-law unit, or for an adult child, these “dollhouses” are most often found in historic neighborhoods on the east and west side of town and are now featured on historic tours. They are more frequently featured on real estate listings too.
Averaging five hundred and fifty square feet or less with one or two bedrooms, the laneway houses became a popular development opportunity one hundred years ago when builders wanted to maximize the value of their property. That desire to get the most money out of a property has certainly never lost appeal with homeowners over the last century, even though the allure of laneway houses did lose appeal for a while. In 2009, the Sustainable Laneway House Project began as part of an initiative to retain the feel of single-family residences in pre-existing neighborhoods. Laneway houses were once again granted permits in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey and the first “new” laneway house was constructed in 2010. Since then, their popularity has increased and the demand for builders has grown.
Also known as coach houses and infill housing, the laneway houses are once again opening up housing opportunities in affordable ways throughout Vancouver and Burnaby. Property owners in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s were building these mini residences to house help, lease, and offset mortgage expenses. By the 1920’s, city officials began restricting building of the infill housing and the popularity of laneway houses began to lose momentum, and many started to disappear. Numerous homeowners tore them down to make way for garages and restrictions to just leasing out the units made it more difficult to sell the units. However, new opportunities to buy and sell these accessory dwellings have opened up opportunity for eager new homebuyers.
Priced anywhere from $180,000 to $300,000 or more, these homes can range in size from studio efficiency at four hundred square feet to almost 1,000 square feet. With pricing on target for the current real estate market price per square foot, the smaller homes not only fill a smaller footprint but also work with a smaller budget. One builder of laneway homes declares that three quarters of his clients are young professionals looking to build a coach house on the property of a relative. The only downside to these residences is that parking is often an issue and there is sometimes a concern for privacy. Nevertheless, this type of infill housing offers the homeowner an opportunity to increase their property value, but the option to buy the home also gives first time Burnaby homebuyers a step into the market. A small step up in the market for small homes, but a step indeed.
Whether you are intrigued by these picturesque little homes and looking to take an enchanted tour, or if you are ready to make the plunge and purchase a laneway home – we’ve got all your relocation needs covered. We are considered the TOP moving consultants in Burnaby and offer FREE in-house estimates. Call today for a free moving quote: 1-855-868-6683